On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible for observers in the United States. Not since 1991 in Hawaii, and 1979 in the Northwest, has such an event occurred in the USA. 2017 provides the first opportunity to view the amazing spectacle after a very long gap.
This eclipse crosses the United States from Oregon to South Carolina, and many of the states in between as well. The sun is blotted out by the moon, casting a shadow onto the surface of the Earth. The northern part Kansas City, Missouri is completely covered. Like St. Louis, the city is essentially cut in two on August 21. For comparison, cities like Nashville, Tennessee, and Charleston, South Carolina, are completely enveloped by the moon's shadow.
Since Kansas City is split by the moon's shadow, observers must be wary of their location on August 21, 2017 at around 1:08 PM. Those located to the southwest of the zone of totality will see the sun partially obscured. Those to the northeast will experience the entire amazing spectacle. Near the line, however, the duration of totality will be quite short.
During a solar eclipse, the moon passes in front of the sun, as seen by an observer on Earth. If the moon completely blocks the sun, the event is total. If it is not quite complete, a partial event occurs. The event of August 21, 2017, is a total eclipse. The moon casts a shadow onto the surface of the Earth. If an observer is completely within the shadow, they will experience totality. Those located outside the shadow, even by a small amount, will only see a partial eclipse. The totality zone is only about 72 miles wide but it stretches across the United States from the Oregon coast to the South Carolina coast. While those outside this zone will see some strange sights, the real spectacular effects are only to be see at totality.
In Kansas City, observers of the solar totality need to be situated in the right place. Everyone located in Kansas City, Missouri, north of Interstate 670 will be in the zone of totality. The actual duration depends on the distanct north of I-670. Using Mulkey Square Park as an example, the extreme southern area will experience about 6.5 seconds while the northern boundary will get over 30 seconds. South of I-670, observers in the park will still see a very narrow sliver of sunlight, or a partially eclipsed event. This is also true for those located near the Primitivo Garcia Elementary school as that facility is too far south as well.
Those people located in Kansas City, Kansas may also be inside the totality zone. Those located north of Tenny Avenue and North 6th Street are inside. Those people located north of Northup Avenue and North 7th Street, (US Highway 69), and those north of Victory Drive are participants as well. Nearly the entire area of Kansas City, Kansas east of the Kansas River are in the zone as well. Only the industrial properties north of I-670 are excluded.
Proper Planning is a Must
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Kansas City, MO, USA
The Need For Eye Protection
Everyone located in a partial eclipse area should understand that serious eye damage is possible without the use of necessary eye protection. This applies to those in the zone prior to, and after, totality as well. Although the sun is nearly completely obscured, a small amount of the sun's disc will still be exposed. Sunlight will stream past the moon, unblocked. If this light falls upon the optic nerve, it does have the power to cause damage. Moreover, since the sun is often extremely dim at this time, the observer will not feel the need to avert their eyes, the sun not having enough brightness to cause eye watering or squinting. It is at this point that optic nerve damage can occur, a process which does not cause pain. It is for this reason that eye protection must be worn by all observers during the entire partial phase.
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Local Viewing Locations
Observers should be located in the Kansas City, Missouri eclipse zone in places like Kessler Park, (57 seconds). The duration is much longer north of the Missouri River. Holland Park experiences 35 seconds and the duration increases to well over one minute in the North Kansas City Macken Park.
Many other parks and area attractions will be in the eclipse zone. These include Belvidere Park, Blue Valley Park and Budd Park. The City Market is also well situated. Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, is just barely outside.
For those seeking the maximum duration of totality, the nearby communities of St. Joseph, Plattsburg, and Lathrop, are treated to over 2.5 minutes. These areas are in the center of the eclipse shadow path. Because of this, they get the maximum coverage by the moon's shadow. Only some cities located well to the east, including Hopkinsville, Kentucky, will have a longer event.
In addition to the location of the observer, the weather must be considered. The sky must be clear so a person can see the eclipse. August 21, 2017 does stand a good chance for favorable weather, but clouds or storms may be possible. The main spectacle starts at around 1:08, locally. Afternoon thunderstorm may cause a viewing problem. Locals should monitor the weather and be prepared to move if possible. All roads may be busy, however. All movement to a new area should be done early to reduce the impact of traffic.
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The Next Total Solar Eclipse
Observers who miss the August 21, 2017 event may have to wait a fairly long time for another local chance. The next in the United States in April 8, 2024. That one, however, will miss Kansas City, passing well to the east. After that, another occurs in the United States in 2045.
Obviously the 2017 event is the best opportunity for people in Kansas City to experience the amazing solar eclipse spectacle. The shadow of the moon will descend on the city. People will be able to see all of the effects in their own area. There has not been such an occurrence in the United States for over 23 years. The opportunity for the western part of Missouri will not be repeated for a very long time.